May 16 coronavirus news

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1:48 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Don't spray disinfectants to kill coronavirus, WHO advises

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Spraying disinfectants outside or across broad spaces indoors to try to kill coronavirus can do more harm than good, the World Health Organization advised Saturday.

And spraying people is a really bad idea, WHO said in an updated advisory on infection control.

WHO cited studies showing that trying to spray bleach or other chemicals over a wide area is ineffective. The same goes for ultraviolet light disinfecting, the agency said.

“Moreover, spraying disinfectants can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation and the resulting health effects,” WHO said. “Spraying or fogging of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium compounds, is not recommended due to adverse health effects on workers in facilities where these methods have been utilized."

Some governments have fogged streets and some groups have been washing down sidewalks, but WHO said it’s probably a waste of effort. 

“Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces,” the agency said. 

1:42 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

New Jersey allocates more than $2.8 million in federal funding for mental health services

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

News 12 NJ/Pool
News 12 NJ/Pool

The New Jersey Department of Human Services has been awarded more than $2.8 million in federal funding for mental health services, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Not only has the past two months been "a challenging time for all of us in protecting our physical health," it has also been hard "on the mental health of many residents as well," Murphy said.

This funding will help expand access to counseling and other mental health services, he added.

The state has also launched the NJ Mental Health Care’s help line (1-866-202-HELP).

"If you need to connect with someone to discuss issues of anxiety or other challenges don't hesitate, we urge you to call," Murphy said.
1:32 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

France reports 96 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past day

From CNN's Nada Bashir

France is reporting 96 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total number to approximately 27,625, the National Health Agency said Saturday.

According to the latest data, about 17,412 patients died in hospitals, while at least 10,213 patients died in nursing homes.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals continues to fall –– now totaling at least 19,432.

1:29 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

New Jersey has seen a 55% drop in new coronavirus hospitalizations since May 1

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

News 12 NJ/Pool
News 12 NJ/Pool

New hospitalizations from coronavirus have decreased by 55% across New Jersey in the past two weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a news briefing on Saturday.

The number of overall patients in the hospital has decreased by 36%, the number of patients in the intensive care unit decreased by 36% and the number of patients on ventilators is down 31% since May 1, Murphy said.

Reopening: The governor also announced he will sign an executive order today that will allow fishing charters and other chartered boat services and watercraft rentals to resume effective at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Specific social distancing and sanitation measures will be required including the implementation of online or telephone payment systems to “further lessen” direct person to person contact among other procedures spelled out in the order, he said. 

"Even with social distancing we are confident that everyone can have a safe and memorable summer," Murphy said.

All customers and passenger logs must be properly maintained for the purpose of contact tracing should that be required, the governor said.

1:03 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Protesters arrested in London during anti-lockdown demonstration

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Police speak to people during a mass gathering protest in Hyde Park in London on May 16.
Police speak to people during a mass gathering protest in Hyde Park in London on May 16. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

At least 13 protesters participating in an anti-lockdown demonstration in London have been arrested, the British Metropolitan Police told CNN on Saturday.

Dozens of people who had gathered in Hyde Park to protest against the government’s emergency coronavirus restrictions were met by police officers attempting to control the demonstration.

In videos shared online, protesters were heard chanting “shame on you” as the un-masked police officers ask people move people along.

Some context: The protests come as the country prepares to enter its ninth week of lockdown on Monday, with a total of at least 34,466 deaths recorded across the UK so far.

In videos shared on social media, Piers Corbyn – the brother of former UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn – was seen warning demonstrators of the government’s “lies” about the deadly virus.

"They’re telling us there’s a pandemic. It’s a pack of lies to brainwash you and keep you in order,” Piers Corbyn said.

In the crowd, one protester was seen holding a sign calling on the government to “stop violating our human rights,” while another sign read: “I will not be masked, tested, tracked or poisoned. This will not be my new normal.”

1:00 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Decision to reopen schools is based on "best scientific advice," UK government says

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac and Nada Bashir

Children walk home from school in Altrincham, England, on March 20.
Children walk home from school in Altrincham, England, on March 20. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Britain is planning for some students to return to school as early as next month, as long as rates of infection continue to decrease, United Kingdom Education Secretary Gavin Williamson

“We can now start the planning for a very limited return to school for some pupils, potentially as early as next month,” Williamson said during a daily government news briefing. 

Only those in kindergarten, grade one and grade six will return but only with smaller class sizes, he said. High schoolers in grades 10 and 12 will go back on a “limited basis” in order to have face to face contact with teachers, Williamson added.

Those students are being prioritized because they have the “most to lose” by staying out of school, he said. 

“We’re asking schools to adopt a number of strict protective measures. This includes reducing class sizes, making sure pupils stay with these small groups, creating a protective and small bubble around them," he said.

Williamson emphasized that schools will be “rigorous about hygiene, cleaning and hand washing.” 

“This approach is based on the very best scientific advice, with children at the heart of everything we do," Williamson added.

12:43 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Study of hydroxychloroquine showed "no benefit or adverse harm," NY health commissioner says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Al Bello/Getty Images
Al Bello/Getty Images

New York Health Department Commissioner Howard Zucker said a study of hospitalized patients that had hydroxychloroquine administered showed “there was no benefit or adverse harm.”

“It was clearly known that there was an issue with a potential of abnormal heart rhythms when you gave that drug along with azithromycin,” Zucker said.

“The drug was tested in hospital trials for the FDA,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, adding, “the tests suggested not to go ahead with the drug.”

12:23 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Pence to travel for first time since press secretary tested positive for coronavirus

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

After spending the past week in Washington largely out of sight, Vice President Mike Pence will hit the road next week, traveling to Florida.

This will be the vice president’s first trip outside of Washington since his press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for coronavirus on May 8. 

Pence will travel to Orlando on Wednesday where he will meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss Florida’s phased economic reopening.

He will also deliver personal protective equipment to a nursing home and hold a roundtable with hospitality and tourism industry leaders to discuss their plans for reopening, according to a news release from the vice president's office.

12:18 p.m. ET, May 16, 2020

Catch up on the top coronavirus headlines you might have missed

From CNN's Elise Hammond

It's just after 12:00 p.m. in New York. Here are some of the top coronavirus headlines you might have missed.

  • WHO funding: President Trump tweeted this morning that he has not made a final decision on the restoration of funding to the World Health Organization. This comes after Fox obtained a draft letter to a WHO official that says the administration will "agree to pay up to what China pays in assessed contributions" to the WHO.
  • Dogs may be able to sniff out Covid: Trials for specially-trained sniffer dogs that may be able to detect coronavirus in humans, even before symptoms appear, are set to begin in London. Respiratory diseases are known to change body odor, according to the researchers, who hope dogs can detect the virus as they have been able to do with malaria.
  • Testing: The FDA has authorized “an at-home sample collection kit that can then be sent to specific laboratories for Covid-19 diagnostic testing.”
  • New York: Horse racing tracks can open without fans starting June 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The state reported 157 new deaths in the last 24 hours.
  • Jobs: Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said on Fox News that many American jobs are "not lost yet." This comes after almost 3 million Americans filed for unemployment this past week.